Washington offers a wide variety of accredited online schools. These range from large, state-run schools to smaller private schools. Washington state has more than 107 post-secondary institutions. Of these, 25 offer online programs. A total of five are public four-year colleges or universities and 10 are public community or technical colleges and 10 are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 686 online certificate programs, 3,403 online associate programs, 3,008 online bachelor’s programs, 1,635 online master’s programs, 1,975 online professional programs, and 340 online doctoral programs. ESL, counseling, and organizational psychology are examples of subjects offered by these programs.
Washington’s unemployment rate as of April 2013 is 7 percent, almost level with the national average. There are 2.7 million employed workers in the state. Trade, transportation and utilities are the largest non-farm employers in the state (551,900 employed as of April 2013), followed closely by government (542,500 employed during the same period). No industry in Washington has grown more than 3.6 percent over the last year, indicating a sluggish general job growth. The fastest-growing jobs for employees with a bachelor’s degree or higher in Washington include marketing research analyst, software developer, and computer systems analyst.
The average wage of Washington employees is more than the average wage for employees across the nation. The national average annual income is $42,871, while employees in Washington earn an average annual income of $48,940. The median income for employees is $39,030 per year. But, the top 10 percent of the state’s employees earn over $89,820 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earn under $19,980.
Depending on factors such as the type and location of the institution as well as the program, tuition for online college courses may vary. In Washington, the average in-state tuition at the public four-year colleges and universities was $7,274 per year. On average, tuition at public community and technical colleges was $2,860 per year. Tuition for students at private accredited online colleges ranged from $11,160 to $30,440 per year.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) accredits most brick-and-mortar and online schools in Washington. Look for certification from this regional body when applying to one of the many Washington online schools. School accreditation ensures that employers will recognize your degree, and other schools will accept your academic credits. Avoid any of the online universities in Washington that do not have accreditation from NWCCU or a regional equivalent. When in doubt, refer to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to see if the school you are applying to has received accreditation.
Distance Learning Resources
- Washington Student Achievement Council supports student success in higher education through strategic planning and advocacy. Use this website to research colleges, prepare an application, and develop a financial plan.
- WashingtonOnline lets you search by online college or course in the state of Washington. WashingtonOnline also has a book-buying resource and an open course library, in addition to other helpful features.
- Washington Economy at a Glance tracks the growth or decline of jobs across a number of industries. This website should help you determine your major based on future job opportunities.
- Washington Financial Aid Association can aid in researching and applying for the Washington financial aid package that is right for you.
- Washington State Department of Financial Institutions breaks down the costs and benefits of student loans and provides a good set of tips for shopping for financial aid.
- Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges governs the 30-plus community and technical schools in Washington. Many of these schools offer online courses and diploma completion programs.
Named in honor of George Washington, Washington state is located in the Northwest region of the United States. It is the 18th largest state in the country, and has an area of 71,298 square miles. Approximately 52°F is Washington’s average annual temperature.
Of the states in the country, Washington has the 13th largest population. It has 39 counties with a reported population of 6,724,540 residents. An estimated 40 percent of Washington’s population is under the age of 30. With approximately 27 percent of its population identifying itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group, the state has one of the least diverse populations in the US.
Washington’s capital city is Olympia. However, the state’s largest city is Seattle, which has a population of 608,660 residents. Of the state’s residents, an estimated 11.05 percent reside in the greater Seattle area. Washington’s other big cities are Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue.
As compared to residents in other states around the US, Washington residents normally have a lower than average level of education. According to the 2010 Census, a reported 16 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have completed high school, 3.9 percent have at least an associate degree, 2.8 percent have degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.